Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Absolutely Spot On!

An article at discusses the overuse of the word "absolutely". It traces the abuse back to the OJ trial (for murder, not kidnapping), when the running back was asked his plea, and he replied, "Absolutely, 100 percent not guilty." It seems to me if that's when the overuse began, it's a bit misguided. OJ saying he's absolutely not guilty implies that "absolutely" means the opposite of what we think it means.

Personally, I don't think that's the worst abuse of the language going around. Look at the above use of the word personally--how else could I be speaking? The article also claims that the word "absolutely" has become a verbal virus, which is an abused word in itself. Whenever something is said to be popular, we say it's "gone viral", which has always had a kind of nasty connotation to me. And we shouldn't blame OJ too harshly for his misstep (the verbal one, not the stabbing one), because at least he didn't say "I'm 110% not guilty".

CNN asked folks to discuss overused words on video, which I'm too lazy to do, but I will report on what some contributors chose: like, cool, fierce, buh-bye, drinking the Kool-aid, and whatever top the list. They're all pretty bad, but none of them have the flesh-crawling effect on me that the phrase "spot on" does.

"Spot on" is one of those phrases people use when they want to agree with someone but have nothing intelligent to say of their own. They think saying "spot on" makes them sound deep and contemplative, but to me they sound like faux English twits.

And don't get me started on the word "faux".


Chaz said...

I absolutely agree with CNN. I thought I remember the word absolutely coming from the "Rocky movie" back in 1976.

Mr. Talk said...

Spot on, Chaz!